UEFA Champions League 2018/19’s group analysis at the end of match day 4
UEFA Champions League 2018/19 is turning out to be a competitive battle at the group stage itself. At the end of match day 4, only FC Barcelona from group B have confirmed their berth for knockout stages. Otherwise, 15 other berths for last 16 stage are yet to grab. Red Star Belgrade’s 2-0 victory against Liverpool on matchday 4 has really turned the tide and it has opened the debate that teams from lower UEFA coefficients can’t be misjudged, they have the capacity to upset bigger teams. So, let’s discuss each group team’s position and analyze their chances to qualify for the knockouts.
Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid seems to be qualifying for the last 16 from group A after each collecting 9 points from their four games. Club Brugge is following them with their 4 points sitting at third on points table, whereas AS Monaco seems to be losing the plot to even qualify for Europa League’s last 32 phase.
Club Brugge can still qualify for knockout round if they manage victories over Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid in their remaining group stage games, but it will be difficult for them. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund – both will be looking to win their both remaining games to finish group winners. The good thing is that both teams won’t be up against each-other and they have every opportunity to finish as group winners by winning their remaining games.
FC Barcelona have already qualified for the last 16 stage from Group B with their 10 points from first four games, but they’ll end up as group winner is yet to decide. Inter Milan have given them a good challenge after playing 1-1 draw at Giuseppe Meazza and Tottenham Hotspur also saves themselves after dramatically turning the tie against PSV Eindhoven winning it 2-1.
It seems that group of death is still open to grab the second berth. Tottenham Vs Inter Milan game on Nov 28 will decide who will join Barcelona at last 16 stage from group B. Barcelona Vs Tottenham game on December 11 will give us group B winner if Inter Milan runs a riot on Spurs on Nov 28. Eindhoven have got no part to play at last 16 stage but they can cause some damage to established teams in their remaining game.
Group C can be considered as the most entertaining group which have marveled some astonishing results. None of the team from the group can be said to be approaching knockout stages after the end of match day 4. Liverpool’s 2-0 defeat against Red Star Belgrade has complicated the group situation, and have given a chance to each competing team to show their strength in remaining group games and book a place at last 16.
Liverpool and Napoli have six points each, whereas PSG and Red Star Belgrade respectively have earned five and four points. The remaining game is going to be difficult for each team. Liverpool is in a difficult position knowing that they’ll have to face PSG and Napoli in their remaining group games, whereas Napoli and PSG can take a relief knowing their remaining game includes a return leg against Red Star Belgrade. However, Red Star Belgrade can’t be underestimated after their roaring victory against Liverpool.
FC Porto and Schalke 04 seems to be occupying the knockout berths from group D. Porto is sitting at top with their 10 points from four games, whereas Schalke has acquired 8 points. Galatasaray can make a late come back who currently sits at third position with their four points, but Lokomotiv will have to go home who haven’t grabbed a point yet.
Galatsaray can turn the table knowing they’ll be playing Lokomotiv away and will return home to face Porto on match day six. Meanwhile, Porto and Schalke will play a difficult game on match day five and a victory for Porto will leave room for Galatasaray to bounce back to occupy second spot after a victory against Lokomtiv and get a positive result in must win game against Porto on match day six.
Bayern Munich have dominated the group as it was expected occupying the top spot, but AFC Ajax have also impressed occupying second spot with their 8 points. They are still unbeaten and they’ll be looking to outpace Bavarians when they’ll face them at home on match day six.
Ajax have got a great chance to lead the group knowing they’ll face AEK Athens, when Bayern will be playing a tough game against Benfica. And, any points dropped by Bavarians on match day five will give confidence to Ajax to face them on match day six at home.
Benfica do sits at third with four points but we don’t seem them going through. Their only hope is to find a place at Europa League last 32 finishing third in the group knowing AEK Athens have yet to earn a point in this group.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is leading Group F and they are highly likely to finish as group winners. They do lose shockingly at home against Lyon at home on match day 1, but they rise dramatically against Hoffenheim on match day 2, and since then they haven’t looked back. They deal effectively against Shakhtar winning their both games 2-0 and 6-0 respectively.
Once again, Lyon and Hoffenheim is going to present challenge for them, but this time they’ll be ready to prove their superiority knowing Guardiola will be on the bench to guide them. Lyon will be happy to finish second in the group, but they’ll fancy their chances against Man City knowing they are playing at home after defeating them in away game.
Hoffenheim can present a challenge to Lyon for second spot with a victory against Shakhtar, but knowing they’ll playing Man City away on match day 6, it seems highly unlikely. The German high-tech team must be happy with a Europa League berth finishing third in the group.
It’s going to be a great battle between Real Madrid and AS Roma for the group winner position in group G. Both team have acquired 9 points from their first four games. AS Roma did lose 3-0 against Real Madrid on match day 1, but since then they have improved vastly. They saw off Victoria Plzen 5-0 and outplayed CSKA Moscow in both home and away game winning respectively 3-0 and 1-2.
Now, Roma are in a great position to outpace Real Madrid knowing they’ll be facing them at home on match day 5. It gives Giallorossi an edge to prove their worth as last season semifinalist team if they fancy their chances to lead the group. Real Madrid will be playing CSKA Moscow on match day 6 and CSKA have already defeated them this season in their home game. It’s a win-win situation for AS Roma to finish as group winner with a victory against Real and Victoria Plzen.
CSKA Moscow must be happy with their third spot in the group and earning an automatic berth at Europa League last 32. Victoria Plzen will have to go home.
Manchester United have really turned the tide with a 2-1 victory over Juventus in their away game, but still Juventus lead the group. Bianconeri is expected to lead the group as they currently lead with their nine points. Valencia may prove to be a challenge for Jose Mourinho’s United, but Spanish side first have to outplay Juventus playing away from home. Their 0-0 draw against Manchester United and 1-1 draw against Young Boys in their away games haven’t helped them to earn a berth for the last 16 stage.
Jose Mourinho’s celebration after victory against Juventus says everything about his happiness knowing their berth in last 16 is confirmed. Red Devils will be playing Young Boys at home to secure their berth at last 16 and game against Valencia on match day six will hardly be a trouble for them knowing Juventus Vs Valencia result on match day 5.
Valencia will have to then happy with their Europa League last 32 berths. They must return strongly next season if they manages to sneak in top four finish in Spanish Primera Division (La Liga).